Richard Nunns, taonga puoro

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Richard Nunns' instruments are intricately carved flutes and stones, eliciting haunting sounds. He is a living authority on Taonga Puoro, the instruments and soundworld of Maori New Zealand. He has been called one of the most important musicians of his generation, having recieved an honorary Doctorate, Arts Laureate award, and the Queen's Service Medal for his work.

Richard has a long history of personal commitment to researching and presenting/ performing the traditional musical instruments of the Maori, and to organising this body of knowledge into a form which is immediately understandable to people in general, particularly Maori who have lost contact with such knowledge.

As well as his ethno-musicological expertise, since Richard first began public performances on taonga puoro (Maori musical instruments), he has developed an amazing international profile, both with the diversity of his recorded work, along with performing with a wide variety of people in many differing settings and circumstances.

Richard Nunns, taonga puoro

Richard works across a wide range of musical genres. He has toured with Maori artists Moana Maniapoto and Deborah Wai Kapohe; free jazz improvisors Evan Parker, Jeff Henderson; pianists Judy Bailey, Marilyn Crispell, Paul Grabowsky, Mike Nock; flutists Alexa Still, Bridget Douglas and Ingrid Culliford.

Richard has had a number of performances of contemporary classical works, written specifically for him and his instruments, including performances with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand String Quartet. One of the most recent of these was Puhake ki te Rangi(Spouting to the skies) composed for Richard and the New Zealand String Quartet by Gillian Whitehead while she was composer-in-residence at the Lilburn House in Wellington.

More recently Richard has been working in the electronica field with Paddy Free of Pitch Black, and has performed with the Australian Art Orchestra.

His improvisation work is truly cross cultural and has seen him performing with Performers from Iran, Australian Aboriginal, First Nation America, Korea, Bolivia China, Turkey, Germany, Finland, Scotland – a global impact. He is continually in demand for recording with a wide range of musicians.

In 2012 Dr Richard Nunns and the late Dr Hirini Melbourne were joint recipients of the Lifetime Contribution to Maori Music Award.

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